How To Clean Skateboard Griptape
Dirty grip tape can ruin the appearance of a skateboard. It can be the difference between keeping your board in your room and having to keep it outside or in the garage because it’s all dirty.
Skateboard grip tape helps keep you connected to the board. Dirty grip tape can affect your tricks and should be cleaned or replaced when needed. Usually a sheet of grip tape will outlast the wooden deck it’s attached to. However, if the board isn’t ridden regularly or gets extremely dirty from riding through mud or something sticky gets on the top of the board like soda, then it’s a good idea to clean it.
How Do I Get Dirt Off My Skateboard Griptape?
How you clean dirt off of skateboard grip tape depends on how dirty the board is and what is on it. If it’s just dust, you can use a grip tape eraser. If it’s thick mud or soda, then you will have to clean it by dabbing at it with a damp towel until you get it all off.
How To Clean Skateboard Griptape The Easy Way
The easy way to clean skateboard grip tape is with a grip tape eraser. Basically, a griptape eraser is just a hunk of rubber-like material. Black Magic makes one and there are a few other skate brands out there that make similar products. You can also buy a belt sander cleaner from Harbor Freight, which works the same as the skateboard griptape eraser. Get some free terry cloths with your purchase for cleaning your grip tape or to clean your bearings.
These products work great if you are just removing dust to keep your board fresh and not removing thick layers of mud.
Rub it on your dirty griptape and it removes the dirt.
Wipe off the rubber particles that the eraser leaves behind. Your board will look clean and the grip will be a darker black than before
Using the corners or smaller side of the eraser will get deeper into the grit of the grip tape than laying the whole eraser flat which removes more dirt, but in a smaller condensed area. Pushing slightly harder also squishes the eraser deeper into the griptape, making it clean it better. If you lay the whole eraser flat, it will be harder to rub across the grip because more surface area is touching and it won’t clean as deeply.
Flip the eraser around different ways as you’re rubbing to see what works best for you.
Cleaning Dirtier Boards
If you want a deeper clean or have to remove thick layers of dirt, you will have to apply a cleaning product to the grip, scrub it, then wipe or dab the dirt away.
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Caring For Your Board As You Clean
Depending on if your board is already water logged or not, you will use a different amount of care when putting things on your board like soapy water. If you board is old and water logged already, you don’t have to worry about it. With new board that are not water logged, watch out that the edges of the wooden deck don’t get wet. If the sides get a little wet, it’s not a big deal. It can weaken the deck if it gets wet. You have to be especially careful to keep the nose and tail areas dry because they will affect the board’s pop. Soggy pop is no good!
Grip tape is thick enough where it doesn’t let water through unless it’s MOB grip, which has holes in it to prevent air bubbles. So using soapy water works and the water won’t get through to the wooden deck.
If you are worried about water getting on the board, be careful around the edges and don’t soak the grip too much.
The Cleaning Process
How To Clean Your Skateboard Griptape: Getting Started
You can cover the edges with tape to avoid water logging the wooden deck. Use tape that doesn’t allow water through. Duct tape, electrical tape, scotch tape, or packing tape will all work great. Just avoid tape that absorbs water. Also, be careful that the tape won’t leave residue when you peel it off. If it does, you will have to take sandpaper to it. Don’t use Goo Gone or water because it will soak into the wood.
1. Apply Cleaning Product
Apply cleaning products directly to the board’s griptape with a sponge, towel, or with a spray bottle. Avoid pouring water on the grip because it will most likely get on the edges of the board.
There are many things you can use to clean your grip.
- Soapy water is the most basic, but contains water which is problematic because it can water log a wooden deck.
- Glass cleaners and green cleaners work, and spraying from the bottle is a good way to apply the cleaner to the grip.
- Orange cleaners for dusty furniture work well and also come in spray bottles for easy application.
- Don’t use WD-40 or anything that will leave slippery residue behind on your griptape.
Using a sponge to apply your cleaning product at first is the best way to get the cleaner on the grip tape besides spraying from a spray bottle. Just be careful not to rub the sponge. Pat and dab it or it will wear away from rubbing on the griptape. Rubbing a sponge on the grip will do a good job of cleaning the griptape, but will ruin the sponge. The sponge is good for getting the thick layers of mud off before scrubbing the griptape with something else like a wire brush. This way the sponge won’t get too messed up.
2. Scrub To Get Clean
After applying your cleaning product, use something to scrub the dirt off like an old toothbrush or soft bristled wire bush. These are the best things to use because they won’t disintegrate as a sponge or paper towels will. A cloth towel works great and doesn’t disintegrate as much. Even if you get tiny particles on your grip you will be able to easily wipe them off later after the board dries.
While scrubbing, don’t let your wire brush or anything harder wear away the griptape, because it will make it less grippy.
3. Dab to Remove Dirt
After scrubbing the board thoroughly, use paper towels or a towel to dab the dirt and cleaning product off. Don’t rub the grip because it can disintegrate your towel. Absorb the cleaning product liquid that has captured the removed dirt.
You might have to repeat steps 1-3 over and over to get the layers of dirt off.
The towel you’re using will get dirty after repeating the steps, so make sure to use multiple towels. Paper towels are better for the final cleaning cycles because you can use a new paper towel for each cleaning cycle. You don’t want to track old dirt back onto the clean grip. Paper towels might leave particles so be careful and only dab them, not wipe if you choose to use paper towels- use an old shirt or a towel though don’t do that to yourself.
Replacing Old Griptape
Sometimes griptape is so old and dirty that it’s not worth all of the cleaning. A new blank sheet of grip is only about 5 or 6 bucks and skate shops will put it on your board for you. Sometimes they will make you take your grip off of the board yourself. Consider calling the shop first and see what they can do for you- some shops will remove the grip for you.
If you have to remove your own grip tape before taking your board to the shop, use a hair dryer or heat gun to melt the glue. This will make peeling it off much easier. Use a razor blade or a knife to get the edges up on the nose or tail to get a good handle on the griptape to peel it off. Taking griptape off isn’t fun, especially when it keeps ripping. Sometimes it comes off in one piece, sometimes it doesn’t.
Another cool thing about replacing grip tape is that there are tons of graphic grip tape sheets available. You can get brands like Thrasher or simple designs like camouflage or black and white checkerboard.
Replacing grip tape when your shoes get older or getting new shoes when your board is getting older is a good way to keep your skating top notch.